Stargate SG-1/Atlantis fic: Dust, Doom and (Almost) Certain Death
Dust, Doom and (Almost) Certain Death
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Daniel & Rodney
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
“This is fascinating,” Daniel mumbled, his nose deep in a fragile, hand bound book. “That a modern Earth language somehow found its way to the Pegasus-”
“Yes, yes, I’m sure it’s really interesting to… someone like you but what does it say about the device?”
Daniel glanced over the edge of the book at McKay. The other man had changed a lot since the first time they had met all those years ago—he’d put on a little weight and a little muscle and seemed almost completely at ease in BDUs with a 9mm strapped to his thigh—but, in just about every other way, he was still Rodney McKay. Annoying. Arrogant. Always trying Daniel’s patience.
“Hmm, what?” he answered with feigned indifference. Rodney muttered a few choice phrases under his breath. Daniel hid his grin behind the book.
For a second, Rodney stared, open-mouthed, at Daniel then a dark glower overtook his face. He gestured wildly at the large Ancient machinery occupying most of the room. “The device!”
Daniel schooled his features, setting the book down on the table between them. Dust floated up, sparkling in the few rays of sun filtering through the shuttered windows. He considered the object—mostly made of stone with some kind of crystal inlays—with arms wrapped around his body, a frown on his face. He tapped his finger against his arm. Waiting.
Rodney let out a frustrated huff a second later. “Does it say how to turn it on?”
“We don’t even know what it does.”
“It’s a power source.”
Daniel raised an eyebrow. “What makes you say that?”
“It’s the only logical conclusion-”
“Logical?” Daniel tried to say but McKay ignored him.
“-based on the evidence. This is some kind of lab. It has no power, everything is wired to this device. Ergo it must be a power source.” He finished with more gesturing.
“Right,” Daniel drawled with a sigh. “McKay… hey, don’t touch that.”
“What?” Rodney looked up, hand hovering over a crystal, with an expression of exasperation—the kind you might wear when patronizing a small child. “This is obviously the ‘on’ button.”
The device flickered repeatedly before glowing a soft orange. A hum filled the room.
“Obviously,” Daniel mumbled, removing his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“See,” McKay continued, “power source.” Around the room the alien computer terminals lit up bathing them in oranges and reds. Rodney clapped his hands together. “Now let’s see what we have here.”
Daniel took a long, calming breath before returning to his book—a hand written journal of one of the scientists. He tried to ignore Rodney as he mumbled to himself as he inspected all of the equipment.
For ten minutes they worked in peace, Rodney’s quiet rants drowned out by the pleasant hum of the device. Daniel frowned at the journal, his finger running over the inked words as he tried to make sense of a passage. His eyes flickered to the device then back to the page. Uh-oh.
“Uh-oh,” Rodney murmured.
Daniel glanced up at him. “Uh-oh?” He felt a flutter of panic building, his pulse quickening as “flight or fight” kicked in. His years of training let him maintain the outward appearance of calm, thankfully. Because McKay appeared to be freaking out enough for the both of them.
“Um-” Rodney motioned frantically towards the device. It was pulsating between orange and blue, faster and faster. And the humming had grown louder by tenfold. Daniel could feel it vibrating through the wood floor sending a tingling up his spine. So not good.
“What did you do?”
“Me? I didn’t-”
Daniel ignored him, paging back through the journal. Something he had read earlier niggled at his thoughts. The words started to blur together, though, as the lights and sounds fought for dominance in his brain and fear pushed the blood faster and faster adding an extra thump to the cacophony. Where was it? He scanned the pages looking for a certain word.
“I’ll just turn it off,” Rodney was saying when Daniel finally found what he was looking for. His head snapped up, finger over the passage, just as McKay slapped the crystal.
Daniel glared at the other man. Never more did he have the urge to deck another human being than right now. His imagination ran away with the thought of his hands tightening around Rodney’s neck as he choked some sense into him. For a genius he sure was stupid sometimes.
“McKay,” he yelled with growing frustration.
The hum grew more intense, the whole room seeming to move with the lights as they pulsed, green now added to the mix. The hairs on his arms stood up and he was sure the fillings would vibrate right out of his teeth. A pain was growing between his temples. He wasn’t sure that was from the device or just the general displeasure of dealing with McKay.
“Why isn’t it turning off?”
“Because that’s not the ‘off’ button.”
“It turned it on.”
“Doesn’t mean it turns it off.”
“Who says they used logic?”
“But-” Rodney stopped at Daniel’s glare before huffing, his arms crossing defiantly over his chest. “Now what?”
Daniel covered his eye roll by rubbing at his throbbing head. “Now we disarm it.”
“Disarm?” Rodney squeaked. The look of sheer terror on his face was well worth it, Daniel thought. “Like a bomb?”
“McKay,” Daniel interrupted before he could start rambling, “just do what I tell you.”
“Me?” He didn’t think the man’s voice could get any higher. “Why me? Why don’t you do it?”
“Can you read Arabic? Because if you can translate this I’ll be more than happy to-” He gestured at the device. It was now switching between four colors and shaking so violently the bolts holding it to the floor were beginning to loosen.
Rodney glared back at him and for a second Daniel thought he might argue but he just gave a defeated huff. “Fine.”
Daniel sighed in relief, sliding his hand over his tired face. The minutes seemed to tick by faster than normal. Sam could probably explain the phenomenon in great detail but he didn’t have time to consider it. He watched Rodney as he carefully removed the lid of the device and began to follow Daniel’s directions. It was nerve-racking. He briefly wondered if Jack ever felt this way as he watched Sam save their asses.
“NO! The blue! I said the blue one.”
Rodney froze, his hand over a yellow crystal. “They all look blue.”
The whine of the device was so intrusive now Daniel could barely think. He rubbed at his temples. “McKay we’ve got like thirty seconds-” Suddenly the room went deafening silent. And completely dark except for a thin slice of light coming from the window. Daniel blinked rapidly, momentarily blinded. “What happened?”
“Is that it?” McKay asked at the same moment.
Daniel pressed on his eyes, urging them back to working order. He frowned at the device and back at the book, the words still a blur. “I think so.” He sighed, dropping into a rickety old chair, and tossed the journal onto a pile of books. “Damn that was close.”
McKay collapsed into another chair with a groan, the wood creaking under his weight. He looked deathly pale even in the dim light. They sat in silence for several moments, both lost in thought. Daniel was getting too old for this.
“How about we not mention this to the others?” Rodney said rather suddenly, his voice sounding loud in the now quiet room.
Daniel rubbed at his eyes again. His insides were still vibrating, his head pounding. “Fine by me.”
Rodney let out an obvious sigh of relief, leaning back in his chair. A loud crack filled the room followed by and even louder yelp of surprise. When the dust cleared Daniel found Rodney sitting on a pile of debris, a look of horror on his dirty face. He coughed, waving the particles away from his face. “We won’t mention this either.”
Daniel tried not to laugh, relief causing a flood of giddiness coursing through him. He snorted at a peeved looking McKay. “Not a chance.”